Day 13 Stage 12 Thurs 10/07/14 Bourg en Bresse - Sainte Etienne 183km
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Well, not much to say about todays stage I am afraid. Another wet, and cold, drizzly day.
It started with a bus transfer of an hour or so, and the highlight was the bus getting stuck in Bourg en Bresse's small streets, so it had to reverse all the way out of town! We later discovered, at dinner, that Darah, one of the guys we've been riding with every day in our little peleton, rather "Moustache-etically" forgot his cycling shoes, and the hotel discovered this as the bus was reversing. He was therefore very lucky to avoid a day of cycling without shoes! Naturally, this great achievement resulted in him being awarded The Moustache during the after dinner speeches. Nice one mate!
We started the stage around 8:30am in the drizzle, my knee strapped up again (not sure it needs it but it makes me feel better!). It's a bit like my use of creams and double shorts etc etc to keep the saddle sores away...I think I'm beating it well, and perhaps don't need double shorts any more, but don't want to change it...... just in case! It works....no point in breaking it!
So.... just a long ride, relatively slowly. Everyone was suffering today from heavy legs and I think a bit of lack of enthusiasm. We've had a lot of rain, and its getting a bit depressing. We all frantically wash and dry all the wet and dirty clothes out and then... wham, it's sodden again within minutes! Today was full leg and arm warmers, a base layer (yesterday we were just too cold). Some people were even buying special gloves and base layers en route as we passed through towns! I did at least stay dry today though, which was good (except from feet and hands of course, which went their usual numb within minutes!) Sorry if this all sounds a bit drab, but today was, and in all honesty it was the first bad day we've had. I think most people felt much the same way. Bring on the sun!
It cleared a bit and the highlight, once again was lunch. Sitting down, inside, out of the rain, glorious. And stops 2 and 4 where we were treated to freshly ground coffee..... fantastic. Another highlight, allegedly, were all the "amazing" vinyards we passed through.... clouded in mist and drizzle. Now maybe it was just the mood I was in or perhaps my "Grumpy by nature" but I am afraid I couldn't help likening these "amazing vinyards" to fields full of cabbages or perhaps sprouts on a typical muddy hillside in the UK. Nobody ever gasps and tells me they look "amazing"..... so why do grapes look so special.....? OK, I admit.... so now you know why I'm called Grumpy :-)
Food stop hidden in a wood shed / barn to shelter from the rain!
Tomorrow is a big day... the first major climb of the Alps..... We'll do over 200km in distance and climb over 4,000m in a day for the first time, it will be our first (of a total of 6) Hors Categorie climbs (that means "Without Category" which mean steeper than Cat1.... which in turn means VERY STEEP!) and it ends with an 18km long 1,700m ascent up Chamrousse..... lets hope the weather is better.... I've only worn sun glasses twice so far!
Above: Feeding time at the zoo. Evening meal..... this is when we all sit down together, tells tales, award moustaches and chapeau's.... and listen to Phil frighten us about the next days riding.... We then go to bed, and have nightmares!!!
And finally,..... to add a little bit of humour in this otherwise Grumpy post.......Here's a picture of all my gels/creams/ointments and various saddles to try to ensure no "saddle sores". Bit of a pharmaceutical extravaganza really..... but it works. Saddle sores incidentally, if you get them, can put you out of the Tour (we have lost one person already to saddle sores, such a shame)
!"Everything is under control!"
The Alps and Pyrenees beckon !!!!!!!!! Yeahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh, we're here !